Saint, Chicago, and Psalm surround their mother and play tug-of-war with her denim, while North quietly claims her hand. Instantly, one of the most famous women in the world turns into any other mom resorting to bribery to regain calm. “Psalm-y,” Kim asks her youngest, “do you want candy or do you want me to carry you?” Offers of ice cream, L.O.L. dolls, makeup, and Roblox are swiftly tendered in an unwaveringly even tone of voice.
Saint, whom Kim calls The Negotiator, perhaps sees how amenable—and distracted, with cameras whirring—his mother is and whispers a higher price into her ear.
“Five million Roblox?” faux-gasps the CEO of two billion-dollar companies, Skims and a relaunching beauty line (formerly KKW Beauty). She cuts deals in short order, managing to give each child her undivided attention without ever losing her cool—her superpower, she tells me, is staying calm in any situation. The shoot is finished in the nick of time, before the day’s last swath of golden light disappears behind the hills.
Later that evening, freshly showered, free of makeup, and wrapped in a fuzzy white robe, Kim tucks into her breakfast banquette for a plant-based stir-fry prepared by one of her two full-time chefs. Dinner is momentarily disrupted by Chicago, or “Chi,” and her five-year-old cousin Dream, Kim’s brother Rob Kardashian’s daughter, twinning in PJs and braided pigtails, as they sprint back and forth in front of us, screaming, “I never had a boyfriend! I never had a boyfriend!”
“You better not!” Kim yells after them, encouraging the two to venture upstairs to share this news with North and Saint, who are playing together in Saint’s room.
The kitchen is a serene oasis of neutral tones, like the rest of this minimalist retreat designed by Belgian Axel Vervoordt, who has created interiors for Sting, Robert De Niro, and Calvin Klein. The house was purchased by Kim and Kanye (Ye, as he’s now legally known) in 2014 and took almost seven years to renovate—coincidentally, the length of their marriage. Though the home began as the couple’s shared vision, it now feels very Kim, virtually every room rendered in the monochromatic palette that has become her signature, from the Skims she designs to the Balenciaga she consistently wears, down to the cars she owns—a Maybach, Rolls-Royce, and Lamborghini SUV, all in the exact same shade of gray. The design process she and Ye collaborated on with Vervoordt led Kim to a love affair with architecture, specifically Japanese. At present, Pritzker Prize–winning architect Tadao Ando is building Kim’s Palm Springs home, which she describes as “concrete, gray-toned, and really zen,” while Kengo Kuma, who designed the National Stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well as LVMH’s Japan headquarters, is creating a glass-and-wood lake house for her in an undisclosed location, where Kim travels every Fourth of July.
Since she filed for divorce early last year, Kim has said little publicly about the demise of her union with the man she credits for inspiring her present aesthetic interests. Perhaps she is letting the last few years speak for themselves: Ye’s relocation to Wyoming; the July 2020 political rally during his half-baked presidential run, when Ye alleged that the couple had considered terminating their first pregnancy; the subsequent Twitter screed where he accused Kim of trying to “lock me up,” which prompted Kim to ask for compassion for Ye and his experience of bipolar disorder. Though Ye has made no secret of wanting her back, even while making a show out of dating someone new. Kim has refrained from issuing public statements on the split per se, and today, she is philosophical about the marriage’s dissolution.